Why Do Marketers Think That Email Marketing Works?

Have you ever wondered why you keep getting emails from marketers – some from companies you know of and some you don’t?

It’s because email marketing actually works well… really well.

Numerous studies have shown that emails have a bigger impact on customers than social media does. In fact, as a marketing channel, email is very effective at turning leads into customers.

One study showed that 60% of email marketers believe email performs better than other channels (others have put this figure as high as 85%). The reason might be that email outperforms social media every year in terms of ROI and open rates – not just overall, but also among younger demographics.

In fact, one digital agency found that 56% of consumers ages 18 to 34 reportedly used email most often when it came to communicating with brands.

If we think about it, that figure stands to reason. Most of us will open every email when it arrives in our inbox – admittedly, we might delete it quickly afterwards if it’s not relevant to us. But at least we opened it!

How many times have we stopped to read every tweet or Facebook post in our feeds? – we don’t, we scroll past most of them.

1. Email Outperforms Social Media

Data suggests that 91% of US consumers still check their email daily. And that when it comes to winning more customers, it is three times more effective than social media.

The table for OptinMonster below beautifully illustrates this (conversion rate of 6.05% for email versus 1.9% for social media).

This is why email marketers think that email marketing works – because it does. And it’s one of the reasons you will keep getting emails from marketers.

However, no one wants to be constantly spammed with meaningless emails.

Spam is annoying and it has attributed to email usage declining by 20% according to a McKinsey iConsumer survey. That is why marketers have to become smarter and align their activities towards consumer behaviour and trends.

The use of social media platforms and mobile messaging apps such as WhatsApp are on the rise. And for good reason. It’s easier to send a quick message or photo to a friend through social media than it is on email.

But, email marketing still performs better when it comes to generating “commercial” sales or for promoting offers or discounts. As the data above shows – 60% say email is better for promos and with a 4,400% ROI – who can argue with that!

2. Multi-Channel Marketing

Of course, it is wise for brands to invest in multiple channels. Social media, SEO, PPC and online PR all help attract new consumers, interact with them and push them along the journey into becoming a sale.

It doesn’t mean however, that marketers should shift all their resources and investment away from email – quite the opposite. They should invest time discovering where email marketing fits into the sales funnel journey, and improve on that.

3. Email Is Part Of The Journey

Marketers are known to focus on every detail of each email, from the subject line, to the images used and the actual text, to open rates and click-through rates. This is important, but they need to remember that email is just one click in the sales process.

When the recipient does click on a link within an email – where does it take them?

If it takes them to a website homepage – it’s probably a wasted click. Directing them to a bespoke landing page which mimics the topic or promotion within the email will be much better.

Some studies have indicated that this alone can improve conversion rates by up to 25%.

Optimise For Mobile

Nearly everyone has a mobile device within arms reach. So where do you think people are reading their emails? – that’s correct, on their mobile device.

A quick Google reveals that 47% of people use a mobile app for reading email. A staggering 81% open them on a smartphone.

So not only do the promo emails have to be optimised to be easily read (and interacted with), the landing page which they will be directed to has to be mobile friendly and responsive.

According to Google data, 61% of visitors will not revisit a website which did not display correctly on their mobile device. Google also indicate that over 40% visited a competitors website as a result.

Optimise The Subject Line

One other area that successful email marketers do, is create great subject lines for their campaigns.

Most email recipients decide if they trust the email and if they will open it purely based on the subject line. A cleverly worded email subject line will increase email open rates by as much as 20% on average.

It has been shown that email subject lines which include numbers get more email opens, that is why it is important to continually A/B different subject lines.

4. Understand Your Customers

Email marketing is not just for email marketers anymore.

When it comes to determining what your prospects want from your business, nothing beats email marketing for understanding customers.

Anyone who wants to market their business online should be using email marketing to gather data about their target customers. It’s certainly one of the top tactics that works when trying to improve the performance of other marketing channels.

And remember, when you have a dataset of consumers who convert for brand, their email addresses can be used for “look-a-like” marketing on platforms such as Facebook, to help win more customers.

5. Personalise The Experience

Every email recipient knows when they have just been “blasted” as part of a email send out.

Nothing is personalised, not even a “Hi David”, just “Hi” or “Dear <firstname>” – which often happens when the database is not personalised.

That aside, it’s more annoying when you receive promo emails about “pet food” – when you don’t have any pets.

Or perhaps you are a dog lover – and the local pet store keeps sending you emails about cat food or cat products.

You will no doubt quickly reach for the unsubscribe link.

By segmenting your email database based on browsing and purchase history, and previous email content that was opened by each recipient, it is possible to become more micro personalised and targeted with each email campaign. It helps email marketers to build better relationships with their consumers.

The most successful emails, in terms on conversions, are those that feel like they have been individually written for each recipient.

Imagine if you were to receive an email from a brand on your birthday offering a special birthday promo code for a product or service that you frequently use, or have been researching into buying.

You would probably feel special, and be more inclined to use the promo code.


Email is particularly effective when combined with other online marketing channels, including paid search advertising on Google Ads, social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, display advertising on publisher websites and through email retargeting.

By using a mix of marketing strategies across different online channels, businesses are able to make the best use of their time and resources by directing them towards the activities that are likely to generate the greatest return on investment (ROI).

Just make sure email marketing is at the top of the list – after all, it’s why you will keep receiving emails from marketers.

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