Why email marketing works so well12 min read

Email marketing offers the best Return On Investment (ROI) of all available digital marketing tools. Though varying across industries, a business can expect a return of about 122% from its email marketing efforts.

For some marketers, this ROI can be up to 4200% or $42 for every $1 spent. A great digital marketing strategy balances three aspects, earned, owned and paid media. Earned media refers to exposure as a result of your efforts, such as social shares.


Paid media refers to paid exposure such as PPC and social media ads. Owned media, on the other hand, refers to marketing platforms owned by your business, like a blog. Email marketing ticks all these boxes, making it one of the few digital marketing tools that fill the trifecta.

In addition to being a trifecta hybrid, email marketing has additional qualities that make it a digital marketing super-tool. These include reach, timing, automation, and personalisation to mention just a few. Let’s have a look at why email marketing is still the best way to grow your sales and your business.



Email marketing lets you customize

Mass marketing has lost its efficacy, almost to the point of uselessness. The modern consumer wants to be marketed to with a message that addresses them directly. While we all love to turn off cookies and tracking, we want brands to know exactly what we want.

We want dealerships to know our favourite car brands and restaurants to know our favourite food. Of all available digital marketing tools, none gives you as many opportunities to personalise as email marketing. With email marketing, you can personalise your communication right down to greeting clients with their first names.


Additional factors such as language and the timing of your communication can be personalised at scale. You can even reach out to your audience to fill in the blanks so you can take personalisation to the next level. Your local restaurant can email specials to you based on what you’ve ordered in the past, or they could just outright ask you.

Whichever route you choose, email marketing will let you send the right message, to the right person, at the right time. Additionally, this can be extended to follow-up communication. While there are limited options to re-engage clients who see your ads, email is a different story. You can personalise your follow-ups based on whether a client took any action.


You can additionally personalise based on a client not taking an action. In a nutshell, communicate with clients on their own terms for better conversions. Email marketing makes this possible.


Email marketing lets you automate

Marketing automation can drive incredible results for businesses. Abandoned cart emails, for example, can on average increase revenue by up to 42%. This is in addition to the fact that you are no longer losing revenue from clients you had already worked hard to market to.

The gains from email automation extend beyond revenue and monetary benefits. Your business can build strong relationships that increase customer lifetime value. You can, for example, automate emails on important dates for clients, like birthdays and offer a small gift.


These small gestures have incredible effects because they make your clients feel valued. In a world where clients are increasingly bombarded with marketing communication, this kind of communication has more value.

Additionally, clients measure this gesture against the effort they assume you put into reaching out to them personally, but the truth is your email platform did the heavy lifting. In a nutshell, automation allows you to pursue multiple business and marketing goals with unlimited effort.


And the results start to show — fast. A good automation strategy is one that frees you up to do what you started your business to achieve without neglecting your marketing.

To tap into this nirvana of email marketing you need to identify 2 factors, important business goals, and client interactions that lead to these goals being achieved. All that’s left is to automate tasks that encourage these client interactions and help you reach your goals.


You can nurture relationships

The modern consumer has access to a lot of technology to turn to when making a purchase. This gives us more options when going through the various stages of a purchase journey. We search for reviews, look for images on social media, and view other users on YouTube.

Pretty much anything we want to do before purchasing a product is now possible. This poses a new question for you: how do you get customers to the end of the purchase journey? The simple answer is to nurture relationships. In the B2B market, it takes up to 7 interactions before a purchase is made.


One can only surmise that it takes even more in the B2C market. This means you need a tool that can keep your brand top of mind during these phases. Email marketing works incredibly well for that purpose. It allows you to manage your message to your client at each stage of the purchase journey.

Not only that, but you can also manage timing. Email marketing can also be combined with other marketing channels to nurture relationships you get from there as well. It blends seamlessly to give an extra kick to your efforts on other channels.


The addition of email marketing to any digital marketing strategy will boost your reach significantly. Almost everyone uses email. So wherever you acquire your leads you can qualify and convert them using email marketing.


You can laser target with email marketing

Digital marketing offers the opportunity to target your reach but no tool is as efficient as email marketing. While keywords, geography and schedules mean you can target with PPC, SEO, and Social Media, these are still limited.

Email marketing allows you to communicate with the exact person you want to reach. Because emails are delivered to inboxes, you are in full control of who a specific message reaches. Not only that, you are in control of when exactly your audience gets this message.


You can make sure you speak to them when it matters most, for example, an hour after they abandon a cart. Research shows that’s the best time to encourage users to complete a purchase.

That level of targeting in terms of recipient and timing is almost exclusive to email marketing. When it comes to targeting well with email, you need to understand that it’s quality over quantity. Everything you do should be centred on quality.


This includes sending frequency, address retention, collection methods and list management. Keeping your lists sanitised and well organised will make sure you are only communicating with an audience you want to.

Managing your send frequency will make sure you are only communicating when they want you to. Combining these two factors will give you great conversions and a high return on investment.


Email marketing offers more calls to action

The biggest challenge to overcome in digital marketing is catering to multiple positions in the purchase journey. At any given time, different clients need different motivations to convert. Your marketing message needs to resonate with that stage to get them to the next level.

With most digital marketing tools, it can be difficult to differentiate enough to cover all the bases. The first challenge when it comes to calls-to-action is most digital marketing tools allow a few at the most if not just one.


Email marketing is different in that regard. With clever enough copy, you can encourage your audience to take many possible actions. All within the same email. More importantly, though, marketers can use personalisation and automation to send just the right call to action.

When a client abandons their cart, send them a coupon, maybe the price was too much. Has the client already made a purchase? Suggest a related product, and they could make a second purchase. Your Client hasn’t engaged your brand in a while? Show them some of the new stuff you have.


With email marketing, you can identify exactly what stage a client is at and send them the nudge they need to move to the next.


Email marketing is the least pricey

Email marketing is not only affordable, but it’s also pretty much the most affordable marketing tool. In many ways, email marketing is one of the most cost-effective marketing tools. Not only will it cost you less in absolute monetary terms, but it’ll also give you the best conversion per amount spent.

Additionally, an email address continues to grow in value each year it is well maintained. With good email marketing, you can continue to enjoy great returns on your marketing without acquiring a new audience.


This is before considering that these email addresses are collected mostly for free, with just effort on your part. With the right integrations in place, then they become absolutely free. Add to the fact that most email marketing plans like Mailchimp will allow you a free plan to collect and send emails, and then the cost is even less.

Mailchimp, for example, will let you collect 2000 emails and send 12 000 times a month for free. That translates to talking to 2 000 customers absolutely free six times per month. For a small business that keeps a well-sanitized list, you can get incredible results.


This free plan also includes a great number of tools to make your marketing efficient. And even as you move to paid plans for more contacts, sends and tools, the pricing remains very fair. You can scale it in relation to your needs to make sure you continue to get a great return.



Data and analysis are easier

Email marketing allows for data collection and analysis on a very granular level. While most digital marketing tools give you somewhat aggregated data, email is a lot more detailed. Your email marketing platform gives you data on an individual level.

This comprehensive data analysis allows for a more robust marketing strategy. It allows for a strategy that can be tailored right down to the individual level.

This can influence the type of communication a client receives and the frequency they receive it. With this level of analysis, the resulting strategy is bound to perform a lot better.


Email marketing offers better testing

There are a lot of factors that can affect the performance of your digital marketing, and the more you know the better you can prepare. It’s not enough, however, just to know the factors and how they affect your success.

It’s also important to have a strategy to measure and optimize your marketing around these factors. This is where testing is an invaluable tool for marketers. Be it through A/b testing or multivariate testing, markets need a framework to understand what works before deploying.


You can test a multitude of elements in email marketing. You can test subject lines, preview text, use text or images, send times, colours and so much more. With multivariate testing, you can test what combination of these factors works best.

This will allow you to send the right message, to the right people, at the right time. This will not only improve your conversions but it’ll make your audience more receptive to your marketing. Most importantly though, email marketing allows you to test before a full-scale deployment.


With enough contacts in your list, you could send to a small portion of them for testing purposes, then fully deploy once you know how to optimize. This would ensure optimal results on the majority of your email sends.


Integrate email marketing with other channels

There are two things that make email marketing a great support tool for other tools in your marketing arsenal. Firstly, as we already discussed, email marketing is great for nurturing relationships.

This is great news because, for the average business, it takes a lot of touchpoints before a client converts. This is particularly important because email marketing can scale with these touchpoints without ballooning in cost.


The same cannot be said for a lot of other marketing channels. Secondly, email marketing’s targeting options make it a great option for follow-ups. You can make sure a client got your message via email, as opposed to, ads or SEO.

These two factors make email marketing a great tool for sealing the deal, even if the first touchpoint is another tool.


You can achieve a lot with email

Email marketing delivers exceptional results because email is valuable beyond just marketing. The astute marketer and business owner know to measure their return on investment from email broadly.

In addition to growing your revenue, email can be a useful tool for reducing expenses in other areas. This indirect contribution from email can make your business more profitable overall. To fully harness this potential, it’s important to understand your users’ interactions and pain points with the business.


Once you have these identified, you can craft your strategy to alleviate these pain points with a well-targeted email. An app owner can, for example, reduce support requests by sending an automatic welcome email to app downloaders.

This email can be a comprehensive onboarding tutorial, with use case examples, FAQs and all the important information. These opportunities are available in different forms for different businesses.


It just takes a good understanding of your business, your product and your target market. Once you have these set up and going, you’ll start to realise the benefits across the business.



It’s easy to view the influence of email marketing as waning, but that could not be further from the truth. Email users are growing, and many consumers actually express a desire to communicate with brands via email.

With a return on investment of up to 420%, email marketing is a tool you just can’t ignore. If you have started, here’s a simple guide on how to get started with email marketing. If cost is a barrier for your business, give Mailchimp’s free account a try.



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