I love email. I’ve seen the fantastic results it delivers brands when used creatively and responsibly:
I also hate email. Or I should say, I hate what lazy marketers and salespeople have slowly turned this otherwise prolific channel into – an obnoxious spam machine.
Finally, I’m incredibly excited and optimistic about its future.
Last month, I attended PDX Digital Summit and was blown away by Michael Barber‘s 4-hour email marketing workshop. Not only did I learn something new but it was refreshing to meet another marketer who shares similar enthusiasm, frustrations, and optimism with email.
This 3-part blog series highlights my key takeaways from Michael’s workshop, along with my research, to illustrate why email marketing is far from dead:
- Part 1: Why we love email
- Part 2: Why we hate email (and how to fix it)
- Part 3: The future of email
Why Consumers and Marketers Love Email
It’s the original social network
According to the Radicati Group, in 2017 there were 3.2 billion email accounts globally and 269 billion emails sent daily.
As a point of reference, Statista estimates Facebook currently having 2.19 billion active users.
“The number of worldwide email users will grow to over 4.2 billion by 2022. Email remains the most pervasive form of communication, with both business and consumer users.”
— Sara Radicati
#1 self-selected channel by consumers
US Consumers in Adobe’s 2017 Email Survey were loud and clear about how they prefer hearing from brands, with 61% of respondents choosing email, a 24% increase over the same survey in 2016:
Similar surveys from MarketingSherpa suggest this preference is global.
Engagement is steadily increasing
Unlike popular belief, email attention span has been increasing.
Litmus analyzed billions of email opens between 2011 and 2016 and found the average time spent reading an email increased nearly 7%:
with fewer recipients glancing or skim reading emails, and more recipients reading emails closely:
As technology and marketers have gotten better, email attention spans on mobile rose from ~20% in 2011 to ~55% in 2016!
The highest ROI for marketers
Email continues to deliver the highest ROI
regardless of Industry
with a median ROI of 122% – over 4x higher than other channels like social, direct mail, and paid search
Assists other channels
When brands use email and retargeting together, they win big!
A study by Salesforce Marketing Cloud found that email openers who also saw Facebook ads were 22% more likely to make a purchase:
When used strategically, email can be your brand’s top playmaker:
The value of email sits well outside the inbox, and the ability to target subscribers on other channels can increase your customer lifetime value.
Salesforce Marketing Cloud discovered that on average, revenue increases over time with opt-in subscribers through year 3 of that relationship:
Email marketing budgets have been opening up over the past four years.
The 2017 GetResponse study found that 58% of marketers planned to increase email spend, and the lastest Litmus report has given us insight into how brands are allocating their growing budgets:
But are we investing enough?
The chart below analyzed data from 4,500 marketers globally to plot the average email marketing spend (blue line) versus the average sales attributed to this channel (red line):
On average, the more $ spent on email, the more $ the brands made.
Therefore, we have an opportunity to close a 4-8% gap between spend and sales.
Ideal for one-to-one communication
Adobe’s 2nd annual consumer survey found that we’re addicted to emails.
Time spent checking both personal and work email has increased 17% YOY, with half of us scrolling through the inbox while sitting on the toilet:
As email engagement continues to rise, we have the opportunity to deliver more relevant and timely messages to our prospects and customers.
“Email is still the #1 most effective one-to-one communication channel for marketers, even though there is more noise in all of our inboxes, and despite growth in mobile apps, social media, and text. Power rests in being close to the data to help determine the right email message and when to deliver it.”