Why Email Marketing Still Works

Why Email Marketing Still Works

With more and more customers finding the information they need via social media, many small business owners might wonder if email marketing is still worth their time. It may be one of the older channels of digital marketing, but that doesn’t mean it’s gone out of style. In fact, it continues to have one of the highest ROIs of digital marketing tools. In 2020, Litmus estimated, on average, email marketing’s ROI was 1:36, or for every $1 spent, you can expect to receive $36 in return.

Who Uses Email?

The short answer: everyone. Or at least, almost everyone. According to Statista, there were around 4 billion people worldwide who used email in 2020, and they expect that number to grow to 4.6 billion in 2025. A little closer to home, the number of monthly internet users in the United States grows by millions of people every year. And you can bet they will also sign up for email accounts. 

Think about it this way: in order to do almost anything on the internet these days, what do you need? An email address. To sign up for social media, banking accounts, buy tickets, or any other number of day-to-day transactions online, you usually need an email address. Interestingly, the first thing most of us do on the internet every day is check email. In 2020, 58% of us checked our email first thing in the morning, before we read the news or our social media. 

With the help of smartphones, email has become even more available in our day-to-day lives. We can check it on the go or while doing other activities, even while standing in line to grab a coffee. In 2018, a whopping 81% of people opened emails on their smartphone rather than use any other mobile electronic device. Which is something to keep in mind when you’re formatting your email marketing: most of us read on our phones, so make sure you optimize your email for mobile viewing. Most Americans — as many as 75% — will delete an email without reading it simply because it doesn’t display properly on their device.

How to Increase Your Email ROI

Now that we’ve convinced you that email marketing is worth your investment, you might wonder how to start out using best practices. Or maybe you’re currently using it, but you’re wondering why your campaigns aren’t successful. Wherever you are in your marketing campaigns, these are 5 ways you can increase the ROI on your email marketing.

  1. Make your emails personal. This tactic isn’t new, but did you know adding first name to your subject line can increase open and click-through rates by up to 20%? On top of that, 72% of people say they will only engage with campaigns that are personalized. That’s hard to ignore! Next time you run a campaign, consider adding a personalized subject or send content that directly applies to your intended audience. 
  2. Segment your email list. Not everything you send will apply to every person on your list — it’s just the way the world works. This tactic may take some trial and error, but segmented campaigns have been shown to increase revenue as much as 760%. Wondering what segments to start with? Start with your buyer personas for your business and craft segments based on gender, age, geography, or buying behavior. 
  3. Keep your primary message and call-to-action above the fold. Most email users that open your message won’t scroll further than the first full screen, which is known as above the fold. Make sure the main hook or purpose of your email falls within that space to have the best chance of converting.

Myths About Email Marketing You Can Forget About

While we’ve already dispelled the rumor that email marketing is a dead practice, there are other myths out there that may hinder your efforts. 

Myth #1: There’s a magic day and time that will guarantee more people will open your emails. 

The truth is, this depends on your specific subscribers and product. There may be a day and time that your particular followers are more likely to open your email, but it’s different for every business. The best way to figure out what yours is, is to send emails at varying times throughout the week and watch your open rates and engagement. Once you’ve experimented a bit, you can narrow down the best times for your particular audience. The bottom line is, if you have something to share that’s time sensitive, don’t fret about it not being at the “perfect” time. 

Myth #2: Frequent emails feel like spam and cause people to unsubscribe.

You can certainly send too many emails, but you can also send too few. On average, a weekly email campaign is usually the most successful, so start there. The key is to always deliver content that is useful to your audience. If your email gives people information they want about events, sales, or other offers, they will be less inclined to delete or unsubscribe from your email. Speaking of unsubscribes…

Myth #3: Unsubscribes equal failure. 

None of us like rejection, but someone deciding to leave your mailing list does not mean you’ve failed. You should shoot for around a 1% or smaller unsubscribe rate; if your rate is higher than that, it’s time to take a deeper look at the data behind your recent emails. But remember, bigger isn’t always better, and that applies to your subscribers list. The goal of email marketing is to create conversions, not to simply collect a huge list of email subscribers. 

Put Your Email Marketing to the Test

Have you done all these things and your email marketing is still in a rut? Try running a split test, also known as an A/B test.

The basic gist of a split test is to send two versions of the same email to different people on your email list. This can vary in complexity, but it’s best to start with something simple, like changing up your subject line. Try adding personalization or emojis to one and not the other, and see which one performs better on your open rates. Similarly, you could try moving your CTA or changing out your images and see what setup increases your click through rate. 

Once you’ve sent your first test, watch what happens on your open and click-through rates. If one version performs better than the other, try the same change on another campaign and see if you have similar results. It can be a bit of trial and error, but the juice is worth the squeeze in this case. 

You can use this same process for every part of your email marketing campaigns, including length, content format, graphic design, style, and more. The key is to prioritize aspects of your emails you think are most important to your subscribers. A quick way to prioritize is using the ICE framework developed by “Hacking Growth” author Sean Ellis:

  • Impact – how likely is it this change to make a difference in your overall campaign?
  • Confidence – how confident are you that this will have an impact?
  • Ease – how easy will it be to implement this test?

For example, changing your subject lines is likely going to have an impact, and is fairly easy to do. On the other hand, spending time completely restyling your email marketing — including logos, color schemes, and layouts — may have an impact, but will take more of your time and resources. In this case, you would start by tinkering with your subject lines, and consider redesign further down the line when you have more time.

If you’re still stuck or just want a little assistance fine-tuning your marketing efforts, let us know! We’d be happy to help get you started, all you have to do is contact us and set up a meeting.


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