We’ve come a long way since that first network email was sent by computer engineer Ray Tomlinson in 1971. The number of global email users in 2022 topped 4.2 billion – more than half the world’s population. This is expected to grow to over 4.5 billion by the end of 2025.
Emails sent and received each day are further expected to exceed 330 billion in 2022, and is forecast to grow to over 370 billion by 2025.
Email remains a highly-relevant marketing channel with an impressive conversion rate. SparkPost, the world’s largest email sender, indicates that 76% of business leaders say their 2021 email marketing campaigns made a positive impact (up from 58% in 2020).
Some more key statistics
- Litmus research shows that email delivers up to USD$36 return for every dollar spent (that’s about R650 for every rand spent)
- 79% of marketers rank email in their top three channels for effectiveness
- 4 out of 5 marketers say they would give up social media rather than email marketing
- 95% also say email marketing aligns well with other marketing disciplines (compared to 50% in 2020)
- 50% of consumers have made a purchase from an email they received in the last 12 months (9% up from previous year). Email also outperforms organic social posts and ads by over 19%, banner ads by 53%, and SMS by a whopping 108%.
With email continuing its reign, it becomes the first place one should measure audience engagement.
Understand your data
Your goal should be to understand your audience as individuals who consume specific types of content, to meet their unique needs. Once you know your audience better, you can connect on a more personal level to address these needs.
Six critical questions that email marketing data can answer:
- How many people open your emails and how many click on links in the email?
- How many people unsubscribe after reading a specific email?
- How many buy a product based on one mail sent; or, how many emails did it take?
- How many people convert into leads through your email marketing campaign?
- What’s the average ROI of your email campaigns?
- Why do you get lower revenue per campaign during certain months of the year?
With different metrics to consider, analysing email marketing data can be daunting. To decide which metrics are the most relevant, identify your core business focus:
- Is it to close sales?
- Is it to generate quality leads?
- Or, is it to give each of your pipeline’s stages greater traction in preparing to convert leads?
Work backwards, says Litmus. Apply engagement metrics that or show which emails are driving attention and interest. Use data like marketing qualified leads (MQLs) for a more holistic success measurement.
Personalise your email marketing campaigns
If you want even more from your email marketing campaigns, personalise your communications. This goes beyond being on a first-name basis with your audience or segmenting them.
It’s about understanding your individual customers and their journeys with your brand. In other words: analyse that lifecycle. It starts with first contact and ends when they no longer show interest in your brand or no longer buy from it.
Creating intimate email marketing connections will become a powerful customer retention tool.
Four important questions to ask when it comes to email marketing:
- Is my brand truly aware of its audience’s individual wants and needs?
- Is it aware of each unique customer’s digital body language – and how does my brand react to this?
- Is every email I send focused on serving these unique needs?
- How important is every interaction a customer makes when engaging with email campaigns?
To understand individual states of mind, marketers must judge online behaviour as they would in a physical store.
Three surefire tips for successful customer engagement:
- Listen carefully and respond quickly.
- Make your customer’s unique needs your main focus.
- Don’t use the opportunity for further promotion. Rather, zone in on solving the customer’s need(s)
If successful, the customer’s memory of this brand engagement will set an ideal tone for positive future engagement.
ROI-focused email marketing
In helping you increase your email marketing ROI, we explored some recent insights from Litmus. We looked at the Litmus CMO Guide to Email Marketing, 2021 State of Email Report, Email Marketing Checklist and The State of Email Analytics Measuring up: The email metrics brands track—and how they do it.
Eight easy steps to ensure your email campaigns stay a step ahead of the competition:
- Leverage external email analytics tools to help increase email ROI by 22%Over half (63%) of brands have embraced third-party email analytics. Brands using 3rd party analytics tools mostly report an ROI of 45:1, compared to an ROI of 37:1 for those who don’t.
- Source zero-party dataZero-party data is data that a customer intentionally shares with a brand. Asking them to share personal preferences, purchase intentions and how they want to be recognised makes them feel valued. Generally, it’s just better to engage your audience directly in this way.
- Exercise an extensive checklist for pre-send testing to help increase email ROI by 42%Brands that use an extensive checklist for every email report an ROI of 40:1, compared to an ROI of 28:1 for those who never do.
- Activate live content to increase ROI by 107%Brands that do so often or always report an ROI of 56:1, compared to an ROI of 27:1 for those who never do.
- Animated GIFs help increase email ROI by 105%Brands leveraging animated GIFs often or always saw an ROI of 37:1, compared to an ROI of 18:1 for those who don’t.
- Dynamic content increases ROI by 100%Dynamic content is any personalised part of a message that changes based on user behaviour or data. Brands that always include dynamic content generate an ROI of 42:1, compared to an ROI of 21:1 for those who never or rarely do so.
- Run A/B tests on your emails to help increase email ROI by 82%Email A/B testing allows you to test which version of your email campaign achieves the best results. Brands that A/B test generate an ROI of 42:1, compared to an ROI of 23:1 for those that do not.
- Sending too few – or too many – emails per month hurts email ROISending 9-16 emails per month generated an ROI of 46:1, while sending less or more yielded lower returns.
Making more impactful connections and ensuring resilient ROI requires constant innovation. Brands must remain agile in their data-centric approaches and innovative with their strategies.
Understanding the needs of your audience sits at the centre of it all. Aim to satisfy these needs consistently and to create memorable experiences. This way you will always be a step ahead of the rest.